This past week, political leaders and civil society advocates from around the world gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), high-level side events, the Social Good Summit, and the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. Shared commitments across sectors and countries resulted in a landslide of exciting announcements and events in support of girls and women. Here are a few of the ways Women Deliver worked throughout the week to deliver the message that investing in women pays:
- Social Good Summit: Participants both online and in-person in nearly 300 cities convened to discuss the use of social media and technology to advance human development. On Saturday, Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield delivered a keynote speech on Maintaining the Momentum: Delivering Solutions for Girls and Women along with Chrysula Winegar, Community Manager at the Million Moms Challenge. Following the speech, Jill appeared with Chrysula in this video, telling the world that women deliver much more than babies. Jill’s keynote speech inspired the attendees, and especially Melinda Gates who tweeted one of Jill’s quotes:
- Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting: At this year’s meeting, US Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi joined partners from around the globe in celebrating over 150 new commitments made to better the lives of nearly 22 million people. Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield announced Women Deliver’s commitment: the launch of Catapult, on October 11, the first International Day of the Girl Child, with the support of partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Fund for Women and UNFPA, and a second commitment for the Deliver for Youth initiative for the 2013 conference.The Deliver for Youth initiative will help build a new generation of maternal and reproductive health leaders in developing countries through advocacy; skill-building trainings, including e-courses; online community building; and workshops at the Women Deliver conference in May 2013.
- Women Leaders Forum: On Monday, Women Deliver’s Director of Communication and Advocacy, Janna Oberdorf, spoke at the Women Leaders Forum: Connecting Women and Youth for Digital Development along with actress Naomi Watts; Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS; and Jeffrey Sachs, economist and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Janna highlighted the importance of prioritizing young people’s needs and perspectives, and the use of digital tools for promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights education.
The Role of Private Providers in Expanding Access to Affordable, Quality Maternal Healthcare: Women Deliver, Family Care International and Merck for Mothers hosted a special event on Tuesday afternoon: The Role of Private Providers in Expanding Access to Affordable, Quality Maternal Healthcare. Speakers included Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver; Diane Brady, Senior Editor and Content Chief at Bloomberg Businessweek; Geralyn Ritter, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility and President of the Merck Company Foundation; Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General of Family, Women and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization; Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of Population Services International; Sweta Mangal, Co-Founder and CEO of Ziqitza Health Care Limited; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance in Nigeria; and Ann Starrs, President of Family Care International.
Participants discussed the importance of all actors, civil society, governments, and the private sector to play their part in the health system to build a healthy and functioning ecosystem that supports all members of society, rich or poor. Dr. Iweala told the packed room that women are the next emerging market, and a force to be reckoned with.
- Smart Business: The Power of Investing in Women: On Wednesday, Women Deliver co-hosted a breakfast event with the National Association for Female Executives and Johnson & Johnson. Betty Spence, President of the National Association for Female Executives, opened the event by explaining the need to expand the scope of private sector support for investing in girls and women. Jeni Klugman, the World Bank’s Director of Gender and Development, provided background on the economic case for investing in girls and women. Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver, emphasized that increased investment in girls and women is possible with increased will and partnerships. Panelists H.R.H. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway; President and Co-Founder of Global Health Corps, Barbara Bush; and General Secretary of the World YWCA Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda all spoke on their efforts to improve the lives of girls and women. Sharon D’Agostino, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship at Johnson & Johnson, closed by emphasizing the importance of committing to the power of enabling girls and women, so they can then invest in themselves.